Mokhiber: Ari, on the death penalty, two questions.
The District Attorney in Houston will decide within the month whether
to seek the death penalty against Andrea Yates -- she's the mother who
drowned her five kids. Has the President expressed an opinion on whether
this woman should be put to death for that crime?
Ari Fleischer: No, Russell, I have not heard him do so and he doesn't
engage in that type of speculation. That's not the job of the President.
Mokhiber: Second question.
Last week, Sara Lee pled guilty to crimes in connection with the 1998
outbreak of listeriosis, which caused the death of 16 people, eight
miscarriages, and 40 to 80 seriously injured people.
The company pled guilty to a crime. Has the President expressed a view
on the death penalty for corporate criminals -- that is, revoking the
charter of a corporation that has been convicted of a crime that has
resulted in death?
Ari Fleischer: As I indicated in your preface question, the President does
not weigh in on those matter of justice. They should not be dictated by
decisions made at the White House.
Mokhiber: Now, Ari, wait a second. Ari, Ari, wait a second. He's in
favor of the death penalty for individuals generally. Is he in favor of
the death penalty for corporations convicted of crimes that result in
Ari Fleischer: Russell, these are questions that are handled by officials
of the Justice -- not by people at the White House.
Mokhiber: Why -- how can he say --
You only get three, not four.
Mokhiber: I get three, and he can get seven...
[Note to readers: A network television reporter had just asked a series
of six or seven questions in a row of Ari on the White House position on
Social Security and Medicare.]